George Takei leads Hobby Lobby boycott

George Takei leads Hobby Lobby boycott July 2, 2014

“Religious freedom run amok.” Calling the Hobby Lobby decision a “stunning setback for women’s reproductive rights” actor and human rights activist George Takei is leading a boycott against the chain of conservative Christian craft stores.

Takei, speaking for many Americans, is angry about a decision by the Supreme Court allowing the craft store Hobby Lobby to opt out of the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Writing on his personal blog, Takei eloquently expresses the frustration and anger so many Americans feel over the Supreme Court decision allowing the owners of Hobby Lobby to force their religious beliefs on their employees.

Takei makes some good points.

Hobby Lobby is not a church, and employers’ religious beliefs should not determine employees healthcare:

“Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a business — and a big one at that. Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability. Your boss should not have a say over your healthcare. Once the law starts permitting exceptions based on ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ there’s no end to the mischief and discrimination that will ensue.”

By placing the rights of corporations above the rights of people, the ruling could have disastrous consequences:

“The ruling elevates the rights of a FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION over those of its women employees and opens the door to all manner of claims that a company can refuse services based on its owner’s religion. Think about the ramifications: As Justice Ginsberg’s stinging dissent pointed out, companies run by Scientologists could refuse to cover antidepressants, and those run by Jews or Hindus could refuse to cover medications derived from pigs (such as many anesthetics, intravenous fluids, or medications coated in gelatin).”

Hobby Lobby hypocrisy:

“As many have pointed out, Hobby Lobby is the same company that invests in Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceuticals, makers of abortion inducing-drugs and the morning after pill. It also buys most of its inventory from China, where forced abortions are common. The hypocrisy is galling.”

The ruling is marred by a perceived endorsement of conservative Christian dogma:

“In this case, the owners happen to be deeply Christian; one wonders whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees.”

Takei recommends what many thoughtful Americans are already doing, a boycott of Hobby Lobby:

“While we work to overturn this decision by legislation, people of good conscience should BOYCOTT any for-profit business, including Hobby Lobby, which chooses to impose its religious beliefs on its employees. The only way such companies ever learn to treat people with decency and tolerance is to hit them where it counts–in their pocketbooks. I won’t be shopping there, and women everywhere should exercise their right of protest and refuse to shop there as well.”

The Hobby Lobby decision represents a dangerous affront to human rights and human dignity. This decision does not advance religious freedom; instead, the decision attempts to enshrine Christian privilege at the expense of employee well-being.

The disastrous decision invents rights for corporations under the guise of religious freedom, while at the same time sanctioning discrimination against America’s working women. No employer should have the right to dictate which prescriptive birth control method women employees may or may not choose.

The Hobby Lobby decision elevates conservative Christian dogma above the law, above the secular values upon which this nation was founded. As such, Takei is right to be outraged, and right to boycott. His loud and proud voice calls attention to a grave injustice.

(H/T George Takei)

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